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The message read, “If you are reading this Alfred, then please know that I am infected with leprosy. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you ahead of time, but I couldn’t bear to make you have to worry about me on top of your job. A package will arrive to you in approximately one month. I have put a bracelet inside that I garnished with some of my pictures, just so that you can remember me if something should happen.” I was hoping that maybe there would be some sign of Iraq and America being a tad bit more détente with each other. The only thing it said was, “Please do not worry about me too much Alfred.” I’ve been reading this message for over two years now. Many people tried to make me leave America due to the fact that my wife had leprosy. Three officious years later, I found myself having horrible nightmares, which always end in an insight of dreaded pain.
The sound of an alarm clock rings in the distance. Someone turns on a T.V. They open the blinds. When they do though, light doesn’t come through. Instead it’s emptiness. An emptiness so great it could swallow the universe. The mysterious person looks at me, only their face isn’t there. It’s just a blank face, no eyes or ears, no mouth to speak. Suddenly a mouth appeared, then eyes, and then all at once the face burst into emotion. It looked like my wife, only I knew that she was dead, so it couldn’t possibly be her could it?
I tried to speak, wanting to say “Who are you?” nothing came out though. It was as if my brain was trying to speak while my mouth was not wanting to. As if my body took control of itself. The figure bent down beside me. The creature sounded like it was crying, only, happily. A ringing noise started in the distance; it kept getting louder. The figure screeched, giving out a twisted evil glare at me, as if to kill me. Then I was in my bed sweating, wondering, wondering if the dream was real.
“I am Alfred Winchester and I will make it through the day.” That is what I have to say to myself in the mirror just to make it one hour into the day. It has been a three years since my wife died. I have been afraid of leprosy ever since. Seeing how it took my wife and basically everything I ever had. I have moved from America, and now I find myself in France, not understanding a word.
Lately, I’ve been connected to some things going on. The worst though, is the rapid count of deaths in Greece. Apparently, even the military is afraid of going there. They literally found half of a person in the marsh, just the top half. Another person was reported to have been hanged with a vine. Though the worst part of the deaths is near the wells, it has been rumored that you can hear a terrible sound, a sound so corrupt, so evil, that the noise itself can kill.
I’m in a hotel, some word I can’t read or say, so I just call it home. I basically live here so it matches. Today I’m going to write down a “chuck-it list”. One of the things I’m going to write is to go to a mysterious place. Lerna, in Greece, will have to do, seeing how it’s where the most amounts of deaths have happened.
First, I must get through today. Then I will write up a list. And who knows, I might not have a nightmare again.
I had another nightmare. This one was worse though, for the figure came back but tried to kill me dozens of times, each only hurting itself. I’m starting to believe these dreams are true. My bags are packed and I guess I will go see if a cab can take me to Greece. As I walked out my door though, I noticed a strange light coming from my shed. I didn’t dare see what it was, instead I “booked it” down the block. I came upon a taxi but instead of letting me get in, he drove off at the first glance he got at my face. I don’t know why but for some reason people are straying from me, as though there was something right behind me that was going to kill them. So instead of a taxi I’m going to have to walk, walk all the way to Lerna, where maybe, just maybe I might get some hospitality.
Alfred’s journal of the walk to Lerna.
1st and 2nd days of travel
It’s pretty boring; I’ve been passing through some cities and villages, none that I know the name of, since all I know is that I need to walk from point A to point B really.
3rd day of travel
I’ve been walking for three days now but the only things I have seen are forests and marshes. I feel as though something is trying to get out of this place. Also, the marshes seem to look like they might start percolating blood at any moment due to how frightening it looks.
4th day of travel
I’ve quickened my pace, due to the strange sounds at night. I always feel something is trying to kill me, somewhere, somehow. There are also low moans in the night, almost as if a dog is weeping. I should reach town by tomorrow hopefully, I would give anything to get out of this dreadful place.
End of Journal
Finally, I’m at Lerna. Even though nobody understands me most likely, I think I’ll go to an Inn for something to drink. I walk into the Inn, expecting people to stare, but to my amazement, everybody just continued what they were doing. I walk up to the owner forgetting he’s Greek and ask
“What do you have to drink?” He merely looked at me, confused, as if to say that I was an idiot. He said something in Greek, and another person walked over. They had a little conversation and then the guy who walked over asked me a very awkward question.
“Why would an American like you be here in a time like now?” I was stunned, because in truth, I didn’t even know why I was here. But, regardless of why I couldn’t go back.
“I’m here because, because I feel like it.” Is what I said, the wrong words to say to him because as I could tell already his face was turning red, swelling. He then, out of no where, punched me square in the face, as hard as he could. My nose was bleeding, I felt like running away, only where would I go? I am by no means an audacious person, but for some unknown reason, maybe revenge, I stood back up and relentlessly pounded my fist in to his stomach while doing so. I never expected to do that, my body just, did. That’s the only explanation. My body “did”. I got a room after that, due to the fact the manager was afraid of me. Now I’m going to bed, going to bed to rest up for tomorrow’s wonderful surprises, I hope.
I woke up not sweating. Then I thought to myself, why no nightmares? Why is it they stopped here yet continued everywhere else? I told myself to not worry about it, to just let it go. 10 minutes later I heard something horrible. It was a blood curdling scream from a woman in the village. I walked outside to take a look. She was staring at the well, like it had grown arms and legs. She was fair skinned at first, but her skin started to get pale, then her hair turned white from shock I guess. It turned snow white just like that, instantaneously. Then I saw her walk forward, very slowly, like slow enough to lose to a snail. She kept walking regardless of the people yelling her name.
It was as though she were a robot, unwilling to live. For she kept walking, even when people tried to drag her away. When she got to the well, she jumped, just jumped down, every one heard the fall stop, and they also all saw the rope holding the bucket disappear with her body. I started to tremble with fear. My body was shaking violently. I was so scared. For what could have so much power that it can take away the will to live? I went back up to my room. Nearly crying from the unsuspected death of the poor woman.
I guess I passed out, because next time I woke it was morning again. This time I got dressed as fast as possible, wanting to find out what the women saw or heard. I ran out the Inn, still putting on my shirt, when a group of men, which were clearly infected with leprosy, grabbed my arms. They put a blindfold on me then started dragging me down the road.
They took off the blindfold some time later and we were in a building. Who were these people was going through my head over and over, like a broken record player. They were speaking a language I didn’t understand, might have been Latin, Greek, maybe even Italian, but it all sounded the same to me. I saw that they were unarmed and started fumbling with the duct tape around my wrists. Dumb fools, they actually expected that duct tape would hold me. All I had to do was rub my wrists together and, voila, it was off. It amazed for a second, that such reprobate men could be so stupid.
I punched the person next to me, getting him in the gut. The next guy got one straight to the shin. He toppled on his mates, making them all fall down. I started fumbling with the ropes on my feet. I got them undone just in time for a kick to the gut. I stumbled backward, but retaliated nicely, giving the man a bloody nose. I ran from the house, wondering where all this energy was coming from. Last I remembered, I was barely able to run a mile, much less give someone a bloody nose.
I didn’t get any sleep that night, still thinking about the woman, and now the captors. I then remembered that they were infected with leprosy, meaning that I was now one of them. I trembled of the thought and hoped to still have a nervous system in the morning.
My nerves were still in tact, I didn’t look too badly, and, I guess I wasn’t infected! That was what I was hoping would come true, only I could feel my hands start to lose feeling after a couple days of being in Lerna. Today I hoped to look down the well and maybe see what the woman had seen. I went downstairs and talked to the manager’s English-speaking friend.
“Do you know what the woman might have seen down the well?” I whispered, trying not to bother anyone else.
“Look, I don’t want any trouble, but I have a thought.” He tried to keep his voice as soft as possible but it was hearable throughout the Inn. “I have been doing observations with the well, examining it every time a person jumps down.”
“Wait, how many people have jumped?” I was afraid now, that the well might be feasting upon these people.
“52 in total, they have been jumping randomly for 3 years now,” He sniffed, almost in a sad state of manor, “Many have died, including children, the locals say that the hydra has been reborn and lurks underneath the earth. Could it be true, though, is what I’m searching for.”
“Have any mysterious things happened with the citizens who died before they committed suicide?”
“Well sure, the woman that died just now was having nightmares of some figure, she explained it as emotionless, and that would come to her in her sleep. She also said it would screech and scream for what seemed hours on end in her dream. I’m not sure if that helped but I would really like to stop talking about this subject…” I could see tears in his eyes now. I felt sorry for the man, and so I stopped and told him to get some sleep.
I walked outside, shivering every time I saw the well. I stopped a foot in front of it, scared out of my hide, bones chattering with fright. I took two steps forward, turned my head down and I saw, I saw, nothing…..I decided to go back to the Inn when I heard the scariest thing ever. It was a low groan coming from the well, and then I heard scratching noises, like teeth against stone. The noise got even worse, louder after every second. A man touched my shoulder, nearly making me jump into a barrel of water. The noise had stopped, finally. People started looking at me, and then I looked at me self. My skin turned pale for a second, then I noticed my hair, it was a brownish color before, but now, now it was snow white from fear. I passed out, hitting my head on the barrel anyways.
I awoke in a bed, different from the one in the Inn. I was guessing it was a medical room of sorts, since there were medicines every where. A woman came over to me and felt my forehead.
“Where am I?” I was feeling numb, no doubt this was a medical room, and I was connected to a blood bag.
“You are fine, sir. We just need to inject this and you will be all better!” The nurse sounded like a five year old playing with a doctor’s kit. She injected the liquid into me. It felt horrible at first, but the pain soothed away calmly and smoothly. After an hour of lying down, my head started to hurt for some reason. I called for the nurse but no one came. I started to yell harder, yet still no one came. My head felt like it was cracking open now, and my vision started to flip out. Things started to seem disoriented. Objects got fatter, skinnier. The blood started to fade into a green color. Though the “Nurse” did leave something behind I noticed, the blood bag. It had a HB on it. Underneath it was the needle.
I ripped the needles out of my body. I stung harshly from the pain, which I thought was awkward, seeing how I was infected with leprosy. I got up, my legs felt like jelly. I walked out of the room and I noticed that the walls were rock, and there was a rock ceiling too. I kept walking and I came to an elevator. Someone was inside of it. It opened and a doctor wearing a mask walked out. But for some reason the mask seemed alive. I followed the Doctor, thinking about what I have seen, trying to remember all the things that have happened.
As I followed the Doctor I realized what was happening. I locked the door he entered after him. I dashed for the stairs, which were next to the elevator, running until I found a room loaded with medicines. I walked in and on a shelf of its own was a special bottle. It was the HB fluid. I grabbed a bottle of it. I then found a bottle that read “Leprosy Poison”. Why that was here I was still wondering, but I didn’t have enough time to wonder or ponder. I then grabbed a very long needle. I ran back down stairs and sneaked up to the door, making sure the Doctor couldn’t see me.
I put some of the poison in with the HB and shook it up. I then opened the door, making sure I stabbed the Doctor with the needle, injecting all 200mg of fluids. He started to run in fear, as though something were chasing him. I ran up to him and tied him up with a rope I had found nearby on a pipe. He started to twist his head, to not look at me. I held his head with my hands, making him look at my eyes. I then dragged him up the stairs until I found a tunnel. I stopped, wondering why I heard hundreds of voices coming from the blackness.
I dragged the man into the tunnel, which I found out was the well in the center of Lerna.
I called to the people to lower the bucket, saying I had captured the “culprit”. The people who understood me lowered the rope. I tied a couple knots to make sure the rope was fastened tight, and then gave them a thumb up to signal I was ready. They raised the Doctor up until he was out of the well. Bringing some-what peace to Lerna.
As for how I figured this out. Well, I figured that since the Manager’s friend mentioned the people thinking of Hydra, that maybe HB stood for what the Doctor and Nurse called “Hydra Blood”. Then I remembered that I was attacked by lepers. So, for me to feel the pain in my body from the needles so sharply, I couldn’t have leprosy. Then I added the fact that my vision was starting to blur after the Nurse gave me the shot. This might have been affected by a drug that causes delusions. This was buffed by how the doctor became deathly afraid of me. But the sounds were purely imagination.
How the Doctor was killing people was he would infect some people with leprosy with the poison, allowing them to infect others. This in return, made the victim defenseless to the so called “cure”. The cure would make the victim delusional. Then the Nurse does something to get the victim to sleep. Once asleep they would be taken to a bed. They would then wake up seeing everything different, instilling great fear. This was the cause of death, also explaining the snow white hair and pale skin.
After my big adventure I decided to get some sleep. I walked into the Inn and went straight upstairs. I passed out, regardless of the racket outside. I woke the next morning feeling like I could run a mile in two minutes. The racket had calmed a little since the Doctor had been captured. I walked downstairs and asked the managers friend for a drink and to tell me what his name is.
“Helios.” He whispered it in my ear as if it was a crime to be named that.
“Why are you whispering, why don’t you just say your name” He looked confused, probably wondering why I thought his name was just fine.
“Don’t’ you know any Greek mythology, I’m named after a god, and some people here are offended by that. Please, just call me something like Jeff.” He handed me a glass of water then went on with cleaning the tables. He left me in a great sense of being unprotected. I just shook my head, trying to get the feeling out, and walked outside. I sat next to the well, thinking about going to Australia and how much fun it would be.
I fell asleep next to the well, after finishing my drink and talking to a passerby about the Hydra. I woke up to the sound of trees falling down, thudding on the ground just a couple hundred meters in front of me. The people gathered around the well, wondering what the noise was. The some guys with axes walked into town, saying they were sorry I think, though I’m not entirely sure since it was another language. I went into the Inn and passed out on the floor, why was I so tired, this was really annoying, especially since I just felt really good.
I was running, running like never before. From what, I don’t know. I heard the scratching of massive claws against the floor of the cave. I broke through some vines at an opening of the cave, feeling satisfaction that I beat whatever was behind me.
Then I saw a head pop out of the opening, then another one, then heads started coming out like crazy. It looked like there might have been 99 of them, but I didn’t have enough time to count. I ran from the cave, trying to find my way, the marsh looked alive every time I looked down. Wait, the marsh was alive, there were people’s souls floating around, going in every direction like ants crawling after some food.
“Aaaaaaaaagggggggghhhhhh” I woke up screaming, clinging to my bead like I was alligator wrestling. My forehead was covered in sweat, I felt like I just got lit on fire. There was a man just outside of the room standing in the hallway looking like he might die of a heart attack. I merely smiled, then tried to get up, but no matter how much I tried I just couldn’t, my back felt like it was gushing blood. I felt my back and noticed huge scars, like from a giant mountain lion. I got up an hour later and looked at the bed, nothing, then at the walls and floor, nothing! I was starting to flip out now, my head was swarming with ideas of where, or what, these scars could have come from.
I walked downstairs, now being used to living here. “Hey Jeff, can I ask you something?” He nodded, looking eager to get on with his work. “How many heads does the Hydra have?”
He looked surprised that I would ask that, but still answered. “Well, in some stories it has seven, some nine, and in some it has an ever growing amount. Why would you care so much about this?”
“Well, what if I said that I had a dream with it trying to eat me, and then the marshes turned alive with souls of the dead that were grabbing at my feet. Would you still keep a straight face and answer that?”
He laughed, laughed so hard that I could see tears in his eyes. I merely walked out the door and into the town square. Then I thought, wasn’t that dream about where the place Heracles fought the Hydra? If so then I may have a good lead on where to find that cave. I got up, dusting my self off while doing so, and asked people around if they knew were the swamp of Lerna was, most merely looked at me like I was insane. One person though, said that he would give me a map if I could promise that I would return to help out his people again.
I told him I would make sure that I return, for the sake of his people, and my life.
I started my adventure to the swamp at about midday, guessing that I should be back around, let’s say, the break of night. I entered the forest, feeling a shiver run down my back.
“It was just a dream Alfred, pull yourself together you silly man.” I looked at the map, noticing that it had a road carved out. The road led to a cave a little bit northeast of Lerna. I continued forward, most the time stumbling on little cactus like plants that really hurt. The path kept winding everywhere, as if to make sure nothing was on my tail. I started hearing noises, like little flies, only they were BIG flies. These things were like the size of a golf ball. I started running, not wanting to deal with the bugs.
The path kept winding and winding around, until finally, I found a massive cave opening, maybe big enough for an eight-wheeler to go through. I slowly, like really slowly. My head felt like it was about to explode with fright. I heard chewing noises deeper in the cave. It was a loud nauseous noise that was really making me want to puke right where I was standing. I snuck a little closer, wanting to see what I was hearing.
Then, just before I could even turn my head, WHAM, I felt something hit my head and that was the end.
“What do you think we should do with him my queen?” It sounded like a man, but the voice was barely hearable.
“Feed him to my child, he might make a good appetizer for what I have in plan for him.” The voice of that person, if it was a person, was astonishing. It sounded like it was constantly ricocheting off every wall, but softly. It put butterflies in my stomach too, with some other things. Who or what was her child? What did she mean I was going to be an appetizer? So many questions running through my head, and then some more..
“Quiet, the man has awakened.” I felt like passing out again, I didn’t want to know what was going to happen next. The people started to walk closer, said something like get up, only it sounded muffled, then yelled it again. In anger, the man grabbed my ropes and dragged me to wherever they were taking me. I started to wriggle around, trying to kick the man. The woman merely watched in amusement. Then she took off what seemed like her face, only it was a mask, and made me look at her. Her face was scarred badly, like someone had stabbed here with a sword. Near her eyes were burn marks. The right half of her face looked inhuman. Her eye was that of a snake and her skin had fur like a grizzly bear.
The people threw me down a hole, I was screaming, just about screaming like a four year old girl. I landed on something living I was guessing, since it moved when I landed on it. Its skin was all scaly, like a huge garter snake. I rolled my self off of the creature, hoping it wouldn’t notice me. Alas, it definitely noticed me. I looked up, and met something far worse than I imagined in the eye. It was a monstrous head, about the size of a car that had huge fangs dripping poison. Must be a Hydra, was going through my head now, as though it was a bullet train.
“Wow, what lovely fangs you have there. Uh, good boy?” The head that I saw was just a mere fraction of what there was. Hundreds upon thousands of heads looked at me; it was like this place was a breeding farm. I saw at least ten Hydras sitting in a little group. My jaw dropped, the hydras mimicked me. It made me laugh seeing over 1,000 jaws all drops at the exact same time. The Hydras looked at me, confused. They all looked at each other, and then they looked at me. Then out of the middle of no where, one of the hydras swung his tail and hit me through the wall of the cave, into the air.
I didn’t even have time to scream before I landed in a lake, which, I will never know. I was sinking, sinking into the depths of this lake, wherever it may be. I hit the bottom of the lake, sinking into the mud, and passed out, maybe dead, maybe asleep. I awoke to someone pulling me up out of the water. The person wore just cloths, but also had some interesting symbols painted on their body. He pulled me up out of the water, and I found myself on a beach next to an ocean. I asked the man where I was but, he seemed confused. He started touching my clothes, wondering why I wore so much I guess.
I tries to think of what happened, but I couldn’t remember anything, then I tried to at least remember my name, but, I couldn’t. The person gave me a little bit of water out of a cup made of dried mud. I drank, despite its horrible condition. I continued walking inward towards some civilization I hoped. After hours of walking though, the only thing I found were some wooden structures which I was guessing had people in them. I thought to myself, what could have happened that I don’t remember any part of my past.
I sat there on that day, thinking about why I deserved this and why it had to be me.
“I might as well start getting used to living here now.” I was talking to myself, just great, though I spoke the truth. There was probably no going back to what other life I had.
Cornish, New Hampshire
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This article has 3 comments.
This story was written by a story with a vivid imagination. The writing style and vocabulary show great maturity in the author. I am excited to read his next short story!